Nestlé, biggest food company in the world, has announced it is launching a business unit that will specialise in developing personalised nutrition products for the treatment or prevention of diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease and Alzheimers . The new unit, to be called Nestle Health Science, will include their existing healthcare nutrition business, which had sales of USD1.6 billion last year.
The food manufacturer is also to create the Nestlé Institute of Health Sciences, which will integrate with its research partner Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL), which it helps by funding research into cognitive development in children and brain degeneration in the elderly, as well as links between gastrointestinal functions and the brain.
The company has also said it intends to fund further research and undertake business acquisitions to ensure it becomes a leader in foods targeted at health needs, and to compete with rival Groupe Danone. It recently received USD28.3 billion from Novartis AG for a majority stake in the Alcon eye-care division.
Danone, whose medical-nutrition food business achieved sales of 925 million euros last year, recently withdrew applications with the European Food Safety Authority for health claims about its Actimel yogurt drinks, asking for clarity on rules.
Nestlé have stated they will invest hundreds of millions of francs into the project over the next few years. The new unit will be set up amid increasing scrutiny by regulators about the health benefits of various food products.

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